Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - May 24, 2018 


Jared Kushner finally granted his security clearance. Also on our nationwide rundown: a new lawsuit seeks the release of a gay man from ICE Detention in Pennsylvania; and protecting an Arizona water source for millions near Phoenix.

Daily Newscasts

New Laws Foster Independence for Teens in Foster Care

Young people who suggested and worked on successful legislation for kids in foster care were at the signing ceremony earlier this year with Gov. Kate Brown. (Oregon Foster Youth Connection)
Young people who suggested and worked on successful legislation for kids in foster care were at the signing ceremony earlier this year with Gov. Kate Brown. (Oregon Foster Youth Connection)
December 23, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon is at the forefront of states working to give kids in foster care the same opportunities as in other families and the young people themselves are making it happen. They've seen state legislation pass this year based on their ideas for opening their own savings accounts, and ensuring they can participate in extracurricular activities.

Lisa McMahon, program director for the Oregon Foster Youth Connection, says it's part of a national trend toward a more normal life in foster care - life that is sometimes hampered by safety and liability concerns built into the system.

"Caseworkers and foster parents are trying to learn the details about who can give permission for what, but the conversation is definitely happening," says McMahon. "Youth are part of that conversation; youth are feeling more empowered to say, 'This is something that I should be able to do.'"

She's referring to a new federal law, the Strengthening Families Act. It allows more flexibility for foster parents to make decisions about activities for teens, such as going on sleepovers or vacations, and getting a job or learning to drive.

McMahon says in the new year, Oregon Foster Youth Connection members will write, shoot and edit a video to explain the new federal law and the changes it's bringing.

"Youth are going to really take ownership in making sure that the state understands this new legislation," says McMahon. "And being able to say it in a way that's youth-friendly and hopefully clearer and more fun for foster parents and caseworkers."

The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative has new guidelines for states to help them put the law into practice.

The group is part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where Todd Lloyd, senior policy associate, says foster parents need some leeway to allow a young person to get a ride home from school, or go out of town with a sports team.

"It empowers foster parents to make these decisions and then, it helps protect them from liability when they make these decisions in good faith," says Lloyd.

Oregon's bill about extracurricular activities aligns with the federal law. The new state savings account law for youth in foster care takes effect in January, and the rules are now being finalized.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR